Electricity, water depts fail to curb T&D losses, residents bear brunt

Even as the residents are set to bear the burden of the hike in power tariff and a possible increase in water tariff, the Electricity and Water Supply departments have not been able to check transmission and distribution (T&D) losses.

The electricity department experiences T&D losses of around 17 per cent, while for water supply it is around 24 per cent. Though both the departments have taken a plea that a hike in tariff is necessary to reduce the gap between expenditure incurred and revenue earned, there is little that has been done to improve the T&D losses. The burden is being transferred to the residents.

The electricity department had submitted a proposal with the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for a hike of around 36 per cent in tariff for domestic connections, and 48 per cent for commercial connections. Apart from this, it has been proposed that fixed charges should also be introduced. Department officials stated that in 2011-12, the gap between revenue and expenditure was Rs 154 crore, while in 2012-13, it was Rs 87 crore.

The electricity tariff has being hiked every year, since the constitution of the JERC. As per the JERC, the acceptable T&D losses were around 15 per cent. At present, in the city these losses stand between 17 and 18 per cent. The presence of illegal connections or kundi connections is reportedly one of the reasons.

Superintending Engineer (Electricity) M P Singh said, "Efforts are being made to reduce the T&D losses. These are around 17 per cent at present, while as per the JERC standards, these need to be reduced further. However, if power tariff is not hiked, the department will have to suffer heavy losses".

A similar situation is present in case of water supply. During a meeting held on Tuesday, the need for a hike in water tariff was highlighted. However, no proposal has been prepared, so far. At present, the revenue earned by the civic body in shape of water bills is around Rs 50 crore, while the operation and maintenance cost is Rs 80 crore. One of the reasons for an increase in the operation and maintenance cost is the rise in electricity tariff. With this set to increase, the maintenance cost is likely to further increase. The T&D losses that are around 24 per cent are reportedly due to leakages in pipelines and illegal connections.

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